Tribunal approves Tabcorp/Tatts merger

Reuters

Gaming analysts were back in front of Tabcorp spreadsheets on Tuesday afternoon following news that its bid for Tatts had received the green light from the Australian Competition Tribunal.

Full confirmation of the tribunal's reasoning behind its approval and the full text relating to its decision will be published later this week.

Indeed, the ACCC had previously refuted Tabcorp/Tatts claims that the merger would be of significant benefit to the public and that resulting cost savings were "inherently implausible" and "speculative", claims which now appear to have been dismissed by ACT officials.

The ruling vindicates Tabcorp's decision to bypass the usual arbiter of corporate buyouts, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), and take its planned deal straight to the Federal Court's ACT which usually acts as an appeal court.

Shares of Tabcorp and Tatts were in a trading halt on Tuesday morning.

"The tribunal is satisfied in all the circumstances that the proposed merger would result, or would be likely to result, in such a benefit to the public that the acquisition should be allowed to occur", tribunal president Justice John Middleton said.

Australia suspends air operations over Syria
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Except for Racing Victoria, every racing state in Australia supported the merger.

While profits fell at both companies past year, some states believe the merger could turn Australia into one of the most profitable markets in the world, outside of Hong Kong.

These companies are registered in the ultra low tax (for them) Northern Territory.

Tabcorp chairman Paula Dwyer said the approval "represents an important step toward creating a world-class, diversified gambling entertainment group that is expected to deliver significant value for both sets of shareholders and material benefits to other key stakeholders including Australian racing industries, business partners, ".

The combined company is forecast to generate annual revenue of more than $5 billion and dominate Australia's tote betting market by bringing together TAB and the Tatts-owned UniTAB.

First announced in October of past year, Tabcorp and Tatts said the deal will lead to the creation of a combined business worth A$11.3bn (€7.7bn/US$8.6bn).

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